The Ghost’s Role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet Assignment

The Ghost’s Role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet Assignment Words: 1219

This is a 4 page paper on the perception of the reality of the Ghost and the significance of its role in the play Hamlet. Thesis This paper will contend that the significance of the ghost emerges from his ability to influence the character of Hamlet. Thus, the ghost is important in emphasizing Hamlets character and thus developing the plot of the Story. Introduction Most critics tend to believe that the role of the ghost in Shakespeare Hamlet is more related to the supernatural and the importance Of religion in the times.

This paper suggests that the ghost has an even greater significance which is elated to the development Of the character and theme Of the play. If we study the different Acts of the play and analyze the circumstances in which the ghost plays a role we realize that after Hamlet meets the ghost he is influenced to act in a certain manner. This influence then helps take the play further. Analysis On studying the play we realize that the significance of the ghost emerges in Hamlet’s self-portraiture which is drawn through the Ghost’s presence in the play.

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Consider first the nunnery scene, which takes place between Aphelia and Hamlet. In this scene we see that Hamlet repeats the words which the host said to him in the first meeting. The self-accusatory attitude that Hamlet adapts and the description of his being “proud, revengeful, ambitious”; and his having untold “offenses at his beck” (3. 1. 123-24) are a reflection of the Ghost’s unspecified self-accusations – its expressions of pride, vengeance, and ambition and its uncommunicative sorrow. Hamlet’s baring his soul makes him feel heavy and he is unable to come to a decision regarding Aphelia like the Ghost itself.

Thus, we hear Hamlet’s question “What should such fellows as do, crawling between earth and heaven? Places him, physically helpless, in an undefined realm like that of his fathers spirit (1. 5. 151). Hamlets presentation of the self in front of Aphelia is similar to the Ghosts presentation in front of Hamlet and analyzing further we may then suggest that Hamlet’s behavior is guided through the meeting With the Ghost. After Hamlet returns from “more removed ground. ” We understand the pun on “prey” (which picks up the Ghost’s “prey on garbage”) in Hamlet’s “I’ll go pray” (I . 5. 130-32).

The ambivalence is further focused on in Hamlet’ s walking “out of the air” only to go into a “grave” (2. 2. 206-7), or his engine himself “bounded in a nutshell” yet “a king of infinite space” (22. 25455), and his saying “l am most dreadfully attended” (2. 2. 275-77). We also note it in Hamlet’s “Denmark a prison” (2. 2241) echoing the Ghost’s “prison house” (1. 5. 14) from which both Ghost and Hamlet seek escape. We see that the same fears that should allow Hamlet to act tend to restrain him. His determination and his helplessness then conflict and the Ghost through its predefining presence the figurative equivalent of a motivator.

Take here the words of the Ghost to Hamlet – “Adieu, adieu, remember me” (1. 5,91) are taken o heart, and perhaps to mind and spirit, by Hamlet, tort he repeats those very words, of course (l I l). The powerful death-haunting impression given by the “very pale” Ghost seems to show up as the “pale cast of thought” that will have “sicklier o’er” Hamlet’s “native hue of resolution” (3. 1 ,81-2). Hamlet, who appears to Aphelia “Pale as his shirt. As fee had been loosed out of hell” (2. 1. 78, 80), resembles the Ghost – “how pale he glares! (3_4. 124) – in its harrowing of earth. The Ghost is then “a dramatic representation of the will of man governed by a Higher Will” (Thomas Tyler from Williamson, 1972). When noting the behavior of Hamlet eve see that it is comparable to that of the Ghost and as time passes the description used for both Hamlet and the Ghost become interwoven and their actualization too becomes similar. Hamlet then seeks not as much to avenge the death Of his father than to carry out the prophecy Of the ghost Who becomes the pivot of action in the play. Author not Available, 2002) The reality of the Ghost and the reliability of his existence lead to the questions of Hamlet and his madness. What has eluded the critics for years is whether Hamlet was mad or was his madness feigned. Though most agree that the madness was signed the confusion created as to his sanity arose through the acceptance of the Ghost as a reality. If the Ghost were real then the madness was feigned and if he were a mere figment of the imagination then the madness became real.

Thus, the perception tot the reader as to the inherent characterization tot Hamlet comes through the acceptance or lack of—the reality of the Ghost. We realize the integral importance of the ghost when we see that the Ghost reveals the truth of the death of King Hamlet: Ghost. Find thee apt; and duller should thou the fat weed that roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf wouldst thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear. ‘its given out that, sleeping in my orchard, a serpent stung me, So the whole ear of Denmark in by a forged process of my death rankly abused.

But know, thou noble youth, the serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown. Hamlet. O, my prophetic soul! My uncle! (1. 3. 38-48) Later, the reader fins that Claudia murdered King Hamlet thus, proving the reality Of the ghost. Claudia admits to killing King Hamlet in a prayer: “… Since am still possessed Of those effects for Which I did the murder: My crown, mine own ambition, and my 57-59) (Author Unavailable, 2002) Shakespeare has used the elusiveness Of the Ghost to create the conception Of the conflict between free Will and determination.

Again we see that the acceptance of Hamlet as a tragic hero rests on the reality of the Ghost. If we are to contend that Hamlet was a tragic hero then we would have to place the Ghost in the role of ‘fate’ as Hamlet would have no say in his behavior and is merely a facet of the will of the Ghost. Yet, if the Ghost were a figment of Hamlet’s imagination then, Hamlets tragedy would be celebrated. Thus Hamlet states, O all you host of heaven! 0 earth! What else? And shall coo el hell? (l,v. 92-3) The significance of the role of the Ghost then lies in the development of the plot and the characterization of Hamlet as an individual.

Conclusion Thus, the reader realizes that throughout the play the Ghost guides the character of Hamlet and creates the perception of the reader relating to the progress of the play. The question of Hamlets’ madness is based on the acceptance of the Ghost as a reality, The character given to the Ghost becomes a reflection of that of Hamlet’s own changing role and the plot of the play then revolves around the appearance of the Ghost. All the climatic events that occur within the theme of Hamlet take place after the appearance of the Ghost and it is thus around the Ghost that the play is based.

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